Skip to main content

Little House on the Prairie star Michael Landon was known for his personality as well as his ability to be a father figure both on and off screen.

Michael Landon as Charles Philip Ingalls on 'Little House on the Prairie'
Michael Landon on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Michael Landon played patriarch Charles Ingalls on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Landon brought family patriarch Charles Ingalls to life on Little House on the Prairie, the period drama that aired in the 1970s and ’80s based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic book.

Landon’s character was a strong provider for his family and embodied what many believed an ideal father would look like. Behind the scenes, he treated the cast and crew like family just like he did his on-screen family.

He was also known for being a bit of a party boy. He’d been known to start his day with bourbon in his coffee cup and end the day with an alcohol-fueled after party. He also had a reputation as a playboy.

Michael Landon and Lynn Noe with their children
(L-R) Michael Landon, Jr, Leslie Landon, Michael Landon, Sean Landon, Marjorie Lynn Noe Landon, Jennifer Landon appearing on the ABC tv special ‘The Barbara Walters Special’ | American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images

Michael Landon’s relationship with his wife in real life was much rockier

Landon married his second wife, actor Marjorie Lynn Noe, in 1963. They had biological children throughout their 19-year marriage and Landon cared for her daughter from a previous marriage.

When Little House on the Prairie was in its last few seasons, Landon met Cindy Clerico, a young actor who was working on set as a stand-in.It wasn’t long before they struck up a friendship, and eventually, a relationship. Landon’s marriage to Noe fell apart and they divorced in 1982, and Landon married Clerico just a year later.

Lynn Noe and Michael Landon
Lynn Noe and Michael Landon | American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images

‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Is Related To This Actor, But They Haven’t Spoken In 30 Years

Michael Landon divorcing Lynn Noe was better for both of them

People magazine reported on Landon’s marital affairs back in 1985, after Little House on the Prairie had gone off the air. He said at the time that he didn’t believe Charles Ingalls himself wouldn’t have stayed married, “except that it was a long way to the next house in those days.”

However, Landon rebuked the assumption that he left Noe after a long marriage simply because he wanted a younger woman. “You don’t dissolve a relationship to go to bed with someone 20 years younger. You have to have major differences and a deep-rooted need to stop a relationship after as many years as I was married,” Landon said honestly. “I would have done anything to make that relationship continue, but I could not. It’s not just difficult for the wife. It is painful for the husband too. But it is far better than letting it stay the way it was.”

It was an amicable split, according to Landon, as he said that Noe after their divorce was a “much happier person now than she was.”